District 6 trial date set

Published 7:12 pm Monday, March 16, 2009

A tentative trial date has been set for the Pike County Commission District 6 election contest.

Lanett Judge Joel Holley hasn’t sent an official court order yet, but he said April 22 will be a tentative trial date in the election contest filed by Democrat Oren Fannin against District 6 Commissioner Karen Berry.

“Unless there’s other needs for motions, then that is our set date,” Holley said.

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This order came after a second hearing March 3 where Fannin obtained election materials as evidence toward proving “illegal votes” were cast for his opponent.

In the original lawsuit filed, Fannin said Berry, who won by just six votes in the Nov. 4 election, would not have more votes if the “illegal votes” were removed.

But it still remains unclear just what Fannin will be disputing in court.

Even 14 days after the parties made copies of voter registration lists, polling lists and absentee ballot affidavits for the district, Joel Lee Williams, attorney for Fannin said he is not ready to release what his client is contesting exactly in the election.

“We are still working. We will be ready to present our evidence at trial,” Williams said.

By next week, Holley said he will require Williams to file in the Pike County Courthouse the reasons for the election dispute so Berry and her attorney will have adequate time to build a defense. “After the last examinations, I gave the plaintiff’s lawyer a period of time, and he will need to file further documents with the court saying exactly what he’s alleging —whether it’s fraud or people who did not live in District 6,” Holley said.